Kathy is a Certified Postpartum Doula and the Founder of Empowa, a Postpartum Support Services Company in Singapore. She brings physical, emotional and practical support to new mums, and families, during the two toughest transitions of their lives: becoming a mother, and becoming a working mother.
Before founding Empowa Kathy lived in the UK, Singapore and Bangkok with a corporate career spanning 20 years. She is a mother, wife and passionate about rehoming animals in need, she currently has 5 rescued fur babies.
Kathy specialises in blending her training and experience in management and corporate environments with her Certification in Postpartum Support and Infant Care, supporting and empowaing new mothers, and their careers, to not only survive the first 1000 days from conception, but to thrive them.
She is also the curator of Pregnant and Popped: THE Baby Fair for MUMS with a partner network of over 70 perinatal services and brand in Singapore.
What woman (real or fictional) inspires you?
Two women often come to my mind when I need to dig deep, either from a motherhood or business perspective. My best friend found herself a single parent with a three month old baby when her partner decided that parenting was too difficult. I often recall the conversations we had during long evenings with the baby (I temporarily moved in to help her) about how she would cope, and the realisation of how hard women can, and will, work to keep their heads above water. She dug deep, worked long hours, relied on friends and family, had no choice but to trust that it would get better, and she will always be the person I try to manifest when I need to push through the tiredness, and uncertainty and look for brighter solutions.
The other inspirational woman is of an entirely different world. I had the fortune to work with the recruiter, Phillipa Rose, in my early twenties. She is a woman that was regularly featured in the Financial Times, Sunday Telegraph, she was, and still is, a powerhouse. Dedication and determination are in her DNA; she scared me and inspired me in equal proportions. She taught me that success came from putting in the hours, networking and to a certain degree, never accepting the word “no”.
Studies have shown that 80% of women do not feel comfortable discussing finances with family and friends. Is this true in your experience?
With a father that held the purse strings incredibly tightly and a mother that quietly urged me to not to be like her, reliant on a husband for money, the value of money, and who had control of it, was apparent to me from an early age. As I have gained more financial experience in life I make a point of discussing it relatively openly with younger women in my path. I am not as astute as I would like to be, and have as an expat spent more time than I would like to admit heavily reliant on my partner for financial support, but I’ve never done it quietly and often urge other women to understand their finances and obtain a sense of ownership over them.
What is the biggest risk you have taken?
I moved from Singapore to Bangkok entirely for love. I immediately secured myself a ‘good enough’ job, but deep down I knew that I was leaving behind my best shot at a Senior Management role in my previous industry, I knew that I was walking away from a network that respected me and had the potential to lift me higher than I had ever been in the Corporate Insurance Industry.
Ever since then, I have been hustling to find my financial independence again, whilst navigating motherhood. Of course, the biggest risks can deliver the biggest rewards, and in my case it quite literally delivered me a baby girl, who is worth it all, but the implications on my career and financial independence have never been lost on me.
Have you ever felt imposter syndrome? If so, how have you dealt with this?
Every day! Having broken away from my traditional corporate career and started my own company utilising entirely different skills, I find myself brushing shoulders with people that have been working in associated industries with many more years experience than me. I am constantly pushing through self doubt, in myself and my new(er) qualifications. But I have focused on building a network around me that not only supports me emotionally, but who have become my back stop, my reference point, my bank of knowledge. If I don’t know the answer to something, or if I don’t have faith in my own knowledge, my network is always there to refer to and help me.
What achievement or experience are you most proud of?
Setting up my own company, and pushing through every pain barrier to keep going and to not give up on myself. It’s been emotionally, financially and at times physically challenging to navigate foreign laws and the myriad of new trends; not to mention finding the balance between the ‘dream” and what is realistically achievable at various stages of starting a business. But being my own boss, starting to feel in control again, especially as I am now a “trailing spouse”, all whilst helping and supporting other women puts a beaming grin on my face every day.
What is a cause that you are passionate about?
Supporting women through the hugest transition in their life - becoming a mother. We used to do this journey under a supportive matriarchal system, we were never alone in motherhood; we had witnessed it, supported it, lived it many times over before it was “our time”. Only a few generations ago women spent the majority of their time with other women. But now “we have it all”, but do we really? I don’t believe we do, because we have lost that matriarchal support system when we need it most, during major life transitions, when other women may know and understand our needs better than most. So, I try to fill that void to enable women to truly “have it all”.
What advice would you give to your 12 year old self?
That you are doing ok, don’t doubt, or question, your own boldness so much. I was a loud, dramatic child, but I doubted myself a lot - I was what you would call an introverted extrovert. Now I see that I was preparing myself for the times ahead; the hustle needed to carve a unique path.
What are you most looking forward to this year?
I chose a word at the beginning of the year to embody 2023, that word was “brave”. I can’t begin to explain how powerful it has been. When in doubt I have called upon that word and taken the “brave route” every time. I am looking forward to the manifestation of that - being brave. So far it has landed me exposure and clients that last year I could have only dreamed of. Being “brave” feels good!